Judge to allow defense access to photos in LaFuria case - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Judge to allow defense access to photos in LaFuria case

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Dr. Peter LaFuria is the OB-GYN doctor who allegedly took explicit photos of his patients without their permission. He's out on bond out of state but evidence against him was taken up in court today.

Thousands of explicit photos were found on computers seized from LaFuria's office and home. Only those showing victims from the waist up are being used by the state to prosecute the doctor on numerous counts of video voyeurism, sexual battery and molestation of a juvenile.

But the defense wants to see all photos, including those from the waist down and others of patients who did not agree to file criminal charges as attorney Glen Vamvoras explains.  "We're entitled to look at them. Secondly, there could be a number of reasons that make those pictures relevant and material to Dr. LaFuria's defense. And that's not something I want to get into publicly because his defense is not something I want to reveal to the whole world."

The court agreed to provide access, but Vamvoras and or his staff will have to view them at the DA's office. First Assistant DA Cynthia Killingsworth says that's to protect victims' privacy.  "I don't want anyone who doesn't have to have access to them to have access to them. I don't think it's fair to the victims. They have been through enough. And I can safeguard the photographs. I can put them on a piece of equipment that does not have access to the Internet so that nobody can hack into that equipment, and that's what I want to do."

Vamvoras says it's too much of a burden to be forced to go to the DA's office to see certain photos and records and may eventually appeal that issue.

Another issue is whether all computer equipment and photos were covered by search warrants used by investigators to seize them. If not, the court could order some evidence thrown out.

Prosecutors hope to get LaFuria to trial this year. But there are still a number of issues to resolve. No trial date is set.

LaFuria had more than 3,000 patients, but charges are moving forward in connection with only 239 women.

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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